There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Switching to Wordpress

I'm heading over to Wordpress to host this site, I'll try and mirror things but head over to http://www.mouth-brothels.com/ for the latest posts!

(http://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Strawberry-Watermelon Sorbet

On my drive back to New Orleans from Lafayette, I stopped at a roadside stand and picked up a flat of strawberries. Louisiana's strawberries are wonderful and I'm always sad to see the end of fresh, local berries.


I decided to start using them up by making Strawberry-Watermelon Sorbet. I watched John Besh's New Orleans the other day and saw him making this for dessert. It is a super easy recipe and is like eating summer!


WATERMELON-STRAWBERRY SORBET

1 pint strawberries, hulled
1 cup diced, seeded watermelon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
About 1/2 cup granulated sugar



1. In a blender, purée strawberries, watermelon, lemon juice and sugar until smooth. Taste to make sure the purée has the correct amount of sugar. Add more sugar or fruit if necessary.

2. Transfer to the canister of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Keep the sorbet in the freezer until ready to use.
Such beautiful color!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I bought the smallest bag of carrots I could find in the grocery store for a stew I was making and still had plenty left over. I had enough to make a carrot cake. As what I like best about carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting, I decided to make cupcakes so I could get lots of frosting per bite.

If you want to kick it up a notch, replace 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract with 2 teaspoons of Praline Liquor.



Carrot Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Frosting: 
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar 
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans.
Pour into pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cupcake. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chocolate Pistachio Bark

Ever have one of those days where you're just craving chocolate and are tempted to just open a bag of semi-sweet morsels and dig in? Well, I've got a bark recipe that will go a long way to satisfying even the most massive craving plus do a number on your salt craving as well.

This recipe can be made with bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate. I prefer bittersweet. I've also made it with pecans and my mom likes it with slivered almonds. Just make sure that whatever nut you use, you roast them to bring out their nutty goodness.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pistachio Bark


1 lb of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup unsalted roasted pistachios
2 to 3 pinches of grey salt

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the bittersweet chocolate until two-thirds melted. Remove from the heat. Stir the chocolate until it is completely melted.

Spread the warm chocolate on the parchment paper to a rough 13 inch rectangle. Scatter the pistachios evenly over the melted chocolate, gently tap the cookie sheet on the work surface to flatten the chocolate and allow the topping to sink in slightly. Sprinkle on the salt.

Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, just until firm. Cut or break the bark into 2 inch pieces and serve.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Old School Root Beer Glazed Baked Ham

I'm a big fan of Tom Fitzmorris' Root Beer Glazed Baked Ham. The glaze is fantastic and the cooking method makes the perfect crust on the outside.

However, I was in Rouse's grocery store the other day and saw they now have an Abita Root Beer Glaze in a bottle. So, I bought it, a New Orleans Chisesi ham and invited a couple of guinea pigs...I mean friends over to see if the glaze was a decent alternative to the two day process of glaze making and baking.

I scored the meat and squirted on the glaze and then patted on a mix of brown sugar and dry mustard. I cooked the ham at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes a pound until it registered 160 on a meat thermometer.

What came out was tender and delicious with a lovely crust and beautiful color.

Dinner was great but I'm now really looking forward to the ham sandwiches!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mini Soft Pretzels


I had an urge for homemade pretzels yesterday but knew it was a long process with two long rises on the dough. I started it around noon today and finally ate my first pretzel at 4:30. If you want to make larger pretzels, don't divide the dough and roll them out to at least 20".

These are nice and chewy. Best served hot from the oven, they are also delicious warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds the next day.

Mini Soft Pretzels

1-1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey

1-1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

4-1/2 to 5 cups bread flour

3 tablespoons baking soda

3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons coarse salt

Stir the water and honey together in a heat proof measuring cup, microwave for 1 minute or until the water is about 105-degrees. Add yeast, whisk together and allow to proof for 5 minutes.

Place the salt and flour and in bowl of standing mixer equipped with dough hook. With the mixer on low, slowly add the honey/water/yeast mixture. Increase the speed slightly and mix the dough for 10 minutes, adding an additional ½ cup of flour if dough is too sticky.

Put dough on a lightly floured counter and form into a smooth ball. Coat a large mixing bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and allow rise at room temperature for 1 to 1-1/2 hours (depending upon room temperature) until it has doubled in size.

Gently deflate the dough. Re-cover and allow to continue to rise for another hour until it has doubled in size.

Divide the dough in half and place one half in a bag in the refrigerator for later use (can also be frozen at this stage). Cut the remaining dough into 18 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 6” rope, let them rest while you roll the remaining, then roll them out to about 12 to 18”. This extra relaxation time will make them easier to finish rolling. Shape each rope into a pretzel by holding each end, cross them, twist and press down with a drop of water. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Add 6 cups water into a 12-inch skillet. Stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Using a spider gently place around 4 pretzels into the boiling water, top-side down for 30 seconds. Using tongs, carefully flip over and boil the second side for another 30 seconds. Remove the pretzels, drain briefly on wire rack, then place back onto the prepared baking sheet. 


Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the sheet before baking for another 7 minutes, until the pretzels are well-browned.

Let the pretzels from cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and enjoy!




Thursday, May 2, 2013

Venezia Restaurant


Walking into Venezia's one expects red checked tablecloths and wicker basket Chianti bottles with candle wax dripping down the sides. This is old school Italian food (they've been around since 1957) in MidCity. If you're looking for unpretentious and casual Italian for reasonable prices, look no further.

I went there last night after a board meeting with some friends from the Forum For Equality. I had had an eventful day of testifying up in Baton Rouge on a public employment bill that, ultimately, was defeated. You can read all about it on the Forum's blog: Committee Hearing on House Bill 85

On the recommendation from Susan, I ordered the Cannelloni.

It was delicious, with the tight rolls of pasta filled with tender ground veal. The red and white sauces were scrumptious. I used some of the cheese bread to sop up the remainder.

John also ordered the Cannelloni and he seemed to enjoy his as much as I enjoyed mine.


Mickie had the lasagna which was also good - many layers of cheesy goodness to be had there but the amount of sauce was a little overwhelming.

Susan had the Chicken Marsala, which had a good flavor but came with canned mushrooms, so it was a bit of a disappointment. I think I can do better at home.

All in all, a pretty decent place to go back in time for the sort of food that sticks to your ribs without sticking it to your wallet.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Modified Shrimp Mosca

I've had a recipe in my files for a while from Mosca's Restaurant in Avondale, Louisiana. The original used too much salt and dried herbs instead of fresh, neither of which seemed palatable to my taste. I also wanted a hair more heat, so I halved the black pepper and added 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Modified Shrimp Mosca

Serves 2

2 pounds large (21–30 count) Louisiana shrimp, peeled and deveined
 1/4 cup olive oil
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 3 Tablespoons oregano
 3 Tablespoons rosemary, chopped
 3 bay leaves
 6-10 cloves garlic, mashed
 1/2 cup dry white wine French bread


Add the shrimp, oil, salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and garlic to a large skillet set over medium-high heat.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes until shrimp are pink and the liquid in the pan is nearly gone.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add the wine.

Cook at a low simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve the shrimp hot with the pan juices. Use French bread to mop up the sauce.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

It's that time of the month for chocolate cravings. I had nothing ready made that would satisfy my sweet tooth so I decided to make cookies. But what kind of cookies? Chocolate chip weren't going to be chocolatey enough for my hunger. Going through my baking supplies I found a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter chips.
The recipe on the back of the package was a start but the 3/4 cups cocoa wasn't going to be sufficient. I made a couple of tweeks to it and they were nearly perfect.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter chips
2 cups flour
 3/4 cups cocoa
 1 tsp baking soda
 1/2 tsp salt
 1 1/4 cup butter (2.5 sticks)
 2 cups sugar
 2 eggs
 2 tsp vanilla
 2 cups peanut butter chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well. Gradually all flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies will puff while baking and flatten while cooling. Cool slightly before removing from sheet and letting cool on wire racks.

The mason jar is filled with strawberry wine that went remarkably well with the cookies.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Arnaud's Restaurant

Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award winning screenwriter for Milk, came in to town for a staged production of "8" to benefit the Forum For Equality. I was able to attend brunch with him and some of the Forum Board members and supporters before the event at Arnaud's Restaurant in the French Quarter.

I arrived early to visit the Mardi Gras Museum. In a portion of the upstairs, there is a collection of some of the costumes and jewelry worn by the restaurant's founder and his daughter and grand daughter to many of the Krewe balls from the 1940's to the 1970's. One of my favorites was this dress is called "Vintage Champagne." It was worn when she was Queen of the Sparta Krewe in 1954. The entire court dressed as delicious wines and dishes.

The brunch was truly wonderful. We were put in one of the private rooms upstairs and our waiter was quick and responsive, especially considering how everything had to be carried up from the bar and the kitchen on the first floor.

The Sunday Jazz brunch is a prix fixe menu but the choices are pretty remarkable. There were four main choices for appetizer, plus soups, gumbos and oysters on the half shell. I started with the Shrimp Remoulade. A very spicy sauce that was missing the mayonaise of traditional remoulade's.

We all got the same salad and I was yawning too much to take a picture.

For the entree, I had their grillades and grits made with veal scallopini. The sauce was rich with vegetables and the cheese grits were perfect accompaniment.

I was sitting next to Dustin Lance Black and he was kind enough to trade bites. He had gotten the crabmeat cheesecake. OMG! Talk about luscious.

My friend, Mickie, got the Shrimp Clemenceau. I usually don't order that because I'm not a fan of peas but the mushrooms, crispy outside and tender inside Brabant potatoes and butter poached shrimp were delicious.

Dessert was just as good as the rest of the meal. I ordered the Chocolate Devastation, which is a dense, flourless cake. All it needed was a glass of milk and I would have been in heaven.

Several people had the Louisiana Strawberries marinated in port, red wine and spices.

What was fun is that we also had people order the Bananas Foster and Crepe Suzette. Eric did a really nice job for the occasion. As my buddies Beavis and Butthead say, "Fire is cool!" Bananas Foster Flaming Crepe Suzette Flambe

All and all it was a wonderful meal but the price puts it in the special event category for me.

At the end, I was able to get a picture taken with Dustin:

I think he enjoyed the meal as much as I did!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Garbage Dip

I threw a birthday party for myself and one of the things I served was a hot cheesy dip. This dip is great with tortilla chips and terrific over pasta or on a baked potato. Plus, the broccoli makes it almost healthy!

Garbage Dip

2 lb box velveeta cheese, cubed
2 8 oz boxes cream cheese, cubed
2 cans Ro-tel tomatoes and peppers
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lbs breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
24 oz bag chopped broccoli

Dump all of the above in a slow cooker to let it melt and blend together. Serve with chips.

I replace the breakfast sausage with ground venison but feel free to use the sausage or any other ground meat. Just brown it first and drain it well.

Here is a picture of it served over pasta. Yum!

This does get warmer after you've reheated it a couple times. I buy an extra 1lb block of velveeta and add half of after the first reheating and the next after the third.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

McKenzie's Chicken in a Box

McKenzie's Chicken in a Box in Gentilly is not just where you can get great tasting chicken but you'll find satisfying soul food, too.

Dad got the fried okra, red beans and coleslaw with our 10 piece order (plus 5 jumbo wings for Mom). Tasty fried chicken with a tender crust and very juicy. The pieces are a little odd shaped but sort of look like what happens when I cut a chicken up at home.

This isn't a place where you can eat in - it is very utilitarian and spare - but, when you need anywhere from 5 pieces to 100 of some of the best fried chicken in the city, come here to pick it up. They are fast and food will still be hot when you get home or to your party.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Elizabeth's Restaurant

My parent's are in town and we headed over to the Bywater for breakfast at Elizabeth's Restaurant. We had to start with the praline bacon - pig candy at its finest!

The recipe is pretty simple:

Praline Bacon

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 pound high quality thick-cut bacon

Mix the pecans and brown sugar together until evenly blended and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Position wire racks onto two baking sheets. Lay the bacon strips side by side on the rack, edges not touching.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bacon is rendered and browning on the edges but not anywhere near done. NOTE: Time will vary according to the thickness of the bacon so watch it carefully. Remove the pans from the oven and CAREFULLY drain off bacon fat if you desire.

When cool enough to handle move the strips very close together. Spread the brown sugar and pecan mixture evenly over all the slices.

Put back in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes more or until the topping is bubbly and the bacon is browned. Allow to cool. The bacon will firm as it sits.

But, back to breakfast!

Mom had the huevos rancheros - a wonderful combination of pork, beans, eggs, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese.

I had the redneck eggs - poached eggs on fried green tomatoes with hollandaise sauce. Tart green tomatoes, creamy eggs, buttery sauce made my mouth very happy.

Mega yummy!

The coffee was strong, the server friendly and the place wasn't busy at all at 8am on the first Friday of French Quarter Fest.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trailer Truffles

I was craving fudge the other day and pulled out a jar of marshmallow fluff only to realize that, even if it were 'never fail fudge,' I didn't want to make that effort. That's when I realized I had a block of Velveeta cheese product in my fridge.

Cheese fudge is creamier than fluff based but just as good. Because this recipe uses Velveeta, I call it Trailer Truffles.

Trailer Truffles

8 ounces of Kraft brand Velveeta Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product
2 pounds Powdered Sugar (aka Confectioner's Sugar)
1/2 pound (2 sticks, or 1 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Cut the Velveeta and butter into cubes and melt in a double boiler. Sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. After the butter and Velveeta are melted, stir in vanilla and nuts.

Pour buttery cheesy mixture into the cocoa and sugar. Stir thoroughly. Once completely mixed, pour mixture into a 9x13 pan covered in aluminum foil. Let fudge set in the refrigerator before cutting.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Louisiana Pizza Kitchen - Uptown

I had another cabal meeting last night, this time at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen Uptown. I always like supporting this place because the owner is such a good corporate citizen to the LGBT community with donations of food, gift certificates for silent auctions, as well as sponsorships for many of our local events.

I started with the fried mushrooms. The dipping sauce was strange - almost but not entirely unlike ranch dressing. The little suckers were good enough to just pop in my mouth without sauce, though. The garlic bread was a thin pizza crust with garlic and Parmesan - very nice with the dipping sauce but I would have like more breading.

My main course was shrimp scampi. The angel hair pasta was perfect and the garlicky sauce delicious. The shrimp were incredibly tiny although the artichoke hearts were nice sized. Good flavor, though.

The waitstaff was quick and efficient and kept drinks full without disrupting the plotting.

Thanks so much to Amy Jones of Jones Communications for dinner.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cowbell


I've been meaning to get over to Cowbell for a while but it wasn't until a good friend had her birthday dinner here that I got around to it. They're located in the Carrollton area, where Oak Street runs into the levee and are decorated rather eclectically in hip country kitsch.

We started with cocktails. It was a little cold so I had the Chupacabra with cocoa, coffee, tequila and other flavorings. Good but a little to much of the coffee flavor for my taste. The Nutty Irishman was very good and the Fruit Fly was very refreshing with mint and citrus in a sugar rimmed tumbler. I didn't particularly care for the Pim's cup - the tonic/soda they used made it too dry and the mint was confusing.

I started with the mac and cheese - terrific flavor with a nice selection of cheeses. While it could have been a little more creamy, it very much is something to order for the table and let everyone have a bite.

We all had the Locally World Famous Cowbell Burger. Mine came with white cheddar and house made pickles. The burger is thick, perfectly seasoned, high quality meat and cooked to order. It is definitely one of the best in the city. The bun is lightly toasted and comes with homemade ketchup and their house agogo sauce (which I didn't care for - a mix of mayo, sirracha, and honey).


They had very friendly staff from the hostess who plied us with drinks while we waited for the big table to become open to the server who checked in regularly and was quick to explain specials, desserts and menu items. Lots of humor and teasing, which is a sign of people who enjoy their work and want you to enjoy your experience.

Definitely worth the visit and on my list to head back to again when I'm craving a good burger!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crock Pot Corned Beef

For St. Patrick's Day, I cooked a corned beef brisket in the crock pot. It was quite delicious and no real work. This is not something that even requires a recipe, although you can add veggies (carrots, onions and potatoes plus cabbage for the last 45 minutes) to the pot to serve with the finished brisket. I, however, primarily eat sandwiches, so I don't bother.

3.5 lb corned beef brisket (plus pickling spice packet)
Water, to cover
1 cup beer

Place corned beef in a slow cooker, fat side down. Cover with liquid and cook for either 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Beef will be tender when done.

Cool on rack, then cut off fat layer before thinly slicing for serving.





Sunday, March 10, 2013

A drink and a casserole

As you may remember, my sort of resolution for 2013 was to try and eat a bit better. Toward that end, I purchased brown rice. Of course, I had completely forgotten how much I dislike its gooey, gummy consistency.

I have found I can mitigate a lot of the issue by lightly toasting the rice first and by making casseroles with it.

Tonight, I started with a Paloma and then made a Chicken Mushroom Casserole.



Paloma


1/4 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

1 T agave syrup

1 T lime juice

1/4 cup tequila



Salt the rim of a highball or margarita glass.

Place all of the ingredients in a shaker with some ice. Mix well, pour over ice into prepared glass. 


Chicken Mushroom Casserole Recipe

1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
2 1/2 water
2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 large eggs

1 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a quart saucepan, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil. Add in the dry rice and toast lightly for just a couple of minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Once done, allow to cool slightly before fixing the rest of the casserole.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Rub a 9 X 13 baking dish with a bit of olive oil or butter and set aside.
Cut chicken breasts into pieces and sprinkle with Creole seasoning. In a large cast iron skillet, brown chicken over medium heat in a little bit of olive oil, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same  skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter. Saute the mushrooms. Stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute. Remove from heat and put the chicken back in the pan with any drippings.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese and sour cream. Add the cooled rice. Combine the rice mixture with the chicken and mushrooms. Stir until well combined and then turn out into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, place in oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until hot throughout and golden along the edges.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hummingbird Cake

It may be a failing of my Southern upbringing but I've never had Hummingbird Cake. However, when a good friend asked for one for her birthday dinner, I went searching for a recipe to suit.

This old style cake has the flavors of pineapple, banana and pecans, with just a hint of coconut. The recipe I used came from Southern Living and, after I made a couple of changes, resulted in a moist cake that was not overly sweet - sort of a dessert banana bread.


Hummingbird Bundt Cake
adapted from Southern Living


For the cake:
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (3 large)
1- 8 oz can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside.  In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Next stir in the eggs, mashed bananas, pineapple, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. 

Sprinkle chopped, toasted pecans into the bottom of the bundt pan, spoon the batter over the pecans. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. 

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on the wire rack. 

For the glaze, in a bowl combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon milk; mix with a hand mixer until smooth, adding an additional tablespoons of milk if needed. Immediately pour the glaze over the cooled cake, and sprinkle coconut over the top.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rosemary Chicken Piccata

The rosemary shrub outside my front steps is growing like crazy, so I decided to hack off a bit for dinner tonight.

I started by roasting small red and purple potatoes with a little olive oil, some chopped rosemary and kosher salt. Then, for the main course, I made Rosemary Chicken Piccata.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons - zest first!)
1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Pound breast to 1/4-inch thick. 

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate or pie pan. In a second plate, beat the egg and olive oil. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate and mix in the chopped rosemary. Dredge each chicken breast first in the flour and then coat with the egg and, finally, dip them into the bread crumb mixture.

Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon zest, lemon juice and wine. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Drop in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve a chicken breast on each plate with a spoonful of sauce.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nile Ethiopian Restaurant

I had a lovely meal and conversation at Nile Ethiopian Restaurant today. The newest of the two Ethiopian places on Magazine Street, it is a bit minimalist in decor, economic in price and authentic in flavor.

We shared the vegetarian sampler with three different lentil preparations (green, red and yellow), carrots and potatoes, beets and greens plus the lamb tibs. The lamb dish included onions and jalapeno's and was quite spicy but with a portion of red or yellow lentils, it was perfect. The injera bread, which is both plate and serving utensil, wasn't quite as sour as I remembered from my last visit to an Ethiopian restaurant but still had that unique flavor and consistency.

There was only a single server (after the guy who took our drink order left to drive a taxi) and she let us to carry on our conversation without pressure. It was a bit difficult getting a refill but that's a small price to pay for being able to monopolize a table on Magazine Street for almost two hours at lunchtime.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Danny's Fried Chicken

When driving back from Lafayette, I decided to take the Scenic Byway of Highway 182. When passing through Morgan City, I was struck by the motto of Danny's Fried Chicken - It'll Make You Smile!

Challenge accepted!

The chicken was delicious - very juicy and flavorful with a bite of spice. There was even a good crunch to the crust.

I admit that I did smile!

The mashed potatoes tasted like they were out of a box, though.

All in all, I give it a thumbs up!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gourmet Carousel - San Francisco

Prior to Jennie's last show at the Gough Street Playhouse, we went out to Gourmet Carousel. I hear you asking, "Haven't you had enough Chinese food?" My answer is, "Bú!"

They started us off with some chicken and corn soup along with an appetizer that contained eight pot stickers - we must have looked like we were hungry. These were some of the best I've had this trip but they only had soy sauce for dipping.

They are known for their seafood, so I went for the Roasted Prawns with Salt and Pepper.


Very messy but licking the spices from my fingers was not only delicious  but required for cleanliness.

Brian had the Braised Short Ribs. Very tasty but very little meat. 


It was an authentic meal for a very good price and I'd definitely recommend it.  

Sourdough I have known and loved

I'm a bread hound. If I could live on (good) bread and water, I would definitely give it a try. While out here in the San Francisco Bay Area (home of the wild yeast Lactobacillus sanfrancisco), I have eaten nearly a loaf of sourdough bread a day.

I started my visit with a stop by Safeway. Unfortunately, at the time of night that my plane landed all they had was Semifreddi's. While their rustic is good, what was still soft was the sour batard and it doesn't have the tang I was craving. It is a nice, dense, chewy bread, though, so I mainly used it for sandwiches.

At Arizmendi's on Lakeshore, I tried the city sour batard. Very good flavor, although the crust was darker and thicker than expected, making it tough to get through to the bread inside. I finally ended up tunneling my way through the loaf and dipping the quite delicious center into lightly salted and peppered olive oil.

So far my favorite (of this trip) has been Raymond's. Made in South San Francisco, it had a wonderful sour bite and was chewy, with a great crust. 

At the Grand Lake Farmer's Market, I picked up a baguette of rustic olive bread from Phoenix Pastafico. It was filled with large black and green olives for lovely, well balanced olive flavor. It made the best tomato sandwiches!